I thought this book was interesting and gave a good look at the psychological view of acceptance of an idea from different perspectives. I am a big proponent of looking at an argument from all sides and understanding where the other person is coming from, I am also a big proponent of having people understand scientific findings and believing in the scientific process, so I think that this book does a good job of showing why we should understand all sides and why it’s hard to convince people of climate change.
There were a lot of good points brought up about climate science, like that it is alarming, and therefore hard to take, but is also presented in a non-urgent manner, because it is presented as 25 years+ in the future, that it’s going to affect things that aren’t necessarily directly us, like the ocean, rural desert areas in other countries, et cetera, we don’t directly see or feel it happening, and there are often comparisons of temperature and weather as opposed to climate when non-scientists discuss climate change, and the studies and information given are presented in scientific terminology that the general public doesn’t understand and therefore questions. This is something I see in everyday life, I know a lot of people who don’t really care about climate change or don’t believe it’s real, and they don’t care to listen to me explain it, or look up more information, or vote based on environmental causes, because they have heard what the media has said, that it isn’t a big or immediate problem, that there is large debate as to whether climate change is real, and that it’s not just hippies trying to change their ways.
Another interesting thought is that people see that the science and models are changing over time, and instead of the general public grasping that this is just in terms of numbers, and not the overall conclusions, and that this is a progression of science, not proving that the previous conclusions were wrong, but rather adapting them based on the most recent information, and the belief that because of these changes climate change is just an exaggerated media story, not something to really consider in everyday life. This hits home a bit, because many of my relatives watch the news 3 times a day on the same channel, with the same information being spit at them, and I can specifically remember my dad and brothers having an argument about the number of scientists (97%) who are in consensus about the existence of climate change and human impacts on climate change, and my dad consistently repeating, “I’d have to see that number” or “I haven’t heard that number, I’ve heard more like 30%”, which is what he’s heard from his news sources, and therefore it is true, so I understand how hard it is to try to explain to someone who isn’t “in the science world” and how polarizing the different sides are.
I also thought it was interesting that the book described how it is difficult culturally to show that you care about something like climate change when it isn’t the cool thing to be doing and you are the only one and you have to explain your views to everyone and most of the time they don’t want you to have a good answer so they don’t have to question their ethics and idea base. This is something I have come across since deciding to be vegetarian, there are a certain group of people who just don’t question it, a certain group of people who try to avoid it like it’s a big deal and that I’m trying to shove it down their throats, so even if they asked about it I would automatically be wrong, and then there are a few people who are genuinely curious, despite not necessarily understanding my point of view, or not thinking it will change anything. I come across the same sort of responses from the same people when I try to talk about recycling, driving cars, wasting food and I can definitely see how it can be hard to be the first one in your group of peers or family to care about the environment when it isn’t cool.
For the first time in 3 years global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels and industry are projected to rise by 2% by the end of 2017. This is after 3 years of relatively flat emissions.